Wednesday 19 November 2014

Less Know Facts about the New Sensation- Self-Driving Cars

Self-Driving Cars
There were huge number of predictions made for the 21st century, which included the cure for cancer, people spending their weekends on the Moon and even personal jetpacks. Keeping some these both on the funnier as well as serious side, none of these predictions have come true apart from one exception and that is the “driverless cars”.

Market and Search giant Google currently holds the topmost position of owning the most famous – driverless cars. The company has been experimenting on this concept since 2009 and the experimental models have clocked nearly 750,000 miles on the roads of California and that too without a driver as well as without any accidents.

Researchers working at the Carnegie Mellon University’s Navlab were the first ones to build an autonomous vehicle that too in the year 1984. The year 2010 saw arrival of a semi automatic van, which was built by the researchers working at the University of Parma. This semi automatic van was able to drive a round trip from Italy to Shanghai. This trip was accounted to be more than 8000 miles.

There are some of the innovative technologies meant for these kinds of vehicles but now they have also been adopted by the mainstream vehicles. An example of this technology is the adaptive cruise control, which is meant to apply brakes whenever it detects a slow traffic ahead. If we see on the positive side of this technology, in a normal driving condition, a vehicle, which offers radar, camera, and even advanced software, can be easily considered the best driver compared to human beings.

These vehicles are also made to perform some of the task, which we might not like to do while driving. One of the tasks, which daunt every driver, is the lack of parking space and parking the car itself. These driverless cars have been equipped with software, which allows them to park the car themselves.

This feature has gained so much of attention that companies like Ford, BMW, Lexus, and Audi are also offering vehicles with similar feature. Another feature adopted by 2014 Mercedes S-Class sedan is that it can negotiate stop-and-go traffic and that too without any inputs from the driver. According to director of electrical and active safety R&D, John Capp, General Motors is planning to introduce a new range of Cadillac’s, which will be equipped with Super Cruise control. This feature will allow the drivers to merge in the freeway and then the car with drive on its own and steer itself. A similar feature will be adopted by Tesla’s Model D sedan and Volvo.

At present, we only have semi autonomous cars, which will still need a human to sit at the wheel and take control of the cruise at most of the time. As Google and Parma researchers are working on their prototypes, we can soon expect fully autonomous cars in the next decade or so. The day is not far, wherein we will see cars without drivers, steering wheels, and even brakes.

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